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Top 10 Things You Need To Survive The Streets

This is the first in what is going to be a series of lists on surviving the streets. Living on the streets is not an easy thing – it can be as arduous as a full time job. Therefore it is essential that you carry only the most important things with you. Unlike a camping trip, you have to live light. You can’t carry a backpack with all your worldly goods – it is simply not practical. So, what do you need when living on the streets?

10. Sleeping Bag


A sleeping bag – preferably one made of down because it is lightweight and very compact. This is the most vital piece of equipment you will need. You can either stash the bag, or carry it with you. Carrying it with you makes you more mobile because you can sleep wherever you end up. If you can’t get a good quality down bag, double bagging two poor quality ones will do the job (though definitely not as well).

9. Matting


Matting is also needed (preferably plastic and lightweight) – you must keep your sleeping bag off the ground away from the damp. If you can’t find or buy matting, at least make sure you put your sleeping bag on cardboard – putting it directly on the concrete will result in you feeling like you are sleeping on a block of ice. The cold can cause your back muscles to freeze up and numb and the result is that when you stretch in the night you can tear them – potentially leading to months of difficulty walking (and walking is what you need to be doing every day).

8. Backpacks


A backpack – consider keeping a smaller backpack for use during the day and a larger one that you can stash. You should keep in mind that some states in the US have “camping bans” which make it illegal to walk around the city with a large camping backpack. One homeless man was even refused service at Denny’s because they “do not serve people with backpacks” – clearly discrimination against the homeless – but you need to be aware of this. A small day backpack will spare you all of these problems.

7. Toiletries

Conk 596 Mach 3 Razor Chrome

You will need: soap, a toothbrush, razors, at the very least. These you should keep with you in your day backpack. It is also worth trying to score a mirror of some kind; just because you are living on the street doesn’t mean you can’t take care of your appearance – you will certainly find life easier when dealing with non-homeless people.

6. Useful Items

Product Judge Can Opener

Some extra small items are very handy to have when you live on the street. For example, you will want a needle and thread to fix minor tears and loose buttons – this can save you a lot of trouble trying to find new clothes – especially in winter. You will also probably want a couple of pens or pencils (you never know when you might need these). It goes without saying that an essential item is a can opener – without one of these you limiting the types of food you can buy (and canned goods are often the cheapest). You will also want a pair of scissors which you can use for trimming your own hair, cutting your nails, and for any other task that may require the use of something sharp. A bottle opener and / or a corkscrew is also useful. And finally, a box of matches or a lighter is essential.

5. Clothes

Mccomb Layered Clothes

Most homeless people prefer to layer their clothes. This means you wear all of your various layers of clothes during the night, but as the day progresses, you can remove each layer successively. This allows you to keep cool when you need, and warm if it gets too cold. A good pair of leg warmers is recommended for wearing under your pants. In addition, you will need a good scarf and a hooded sweatshirt.

4. Headwear

Double Knit Cap

In summer you will need a baseball cap to protect you from the sun – this is essential to prevent you from suffering sun stroke and even potentially getting skin cancer from overexposure. It can also help to conceal a head of hair badly in need of a cut which can be very off-putting to people you may need to deal with. In winter you will need a good warm ski knit hat. A lot of the body’s heat escapes through the head, therefore this is one of the most important things you will need in winter.

3. Shoes


You absolutely must have a good quality pair of shoes – especially in winter. If you have a hole in your shoe and your socks get wet, you will have a miserable few days with wet feet – this can, of course, lead to health problems that you want to avoid. If you do not have quality shoes, forget buying beer – use all the money you can muster to get good shoes without holes. Make sure you wear socks – shoes rubbing on the skin can cause lesions. One homeless guy in the local soup kitchen had been wearing dress shoes that were ill fitting without socks for months – his ankles were covered in festering sores which were being scraped by the shoes every time he walked. It was too late for him to do anything about it – don’t let this happen to you!

2. Bags

Picture 1-20

Plastic garbage bags are essential to life on the streets. They will be raincoats in winter, and protection from the sun in summer. You can use them to protect your matting from the wet ground. A tip for getting free bags: janitors in large buildings often keep spare bags under the garbage can for easy replacement when emptying. If you make sure you take just one or two per garbage can no one will notice and you will have a constant supply on hand. You will probably also want to keep a few smaller bags on hand just in case you have a need for them.

1. Miscellaneous extras


It is very important that you travel light – you want to keep your belongings to a minimum and the items above cover virtually everything you will need. Having said that, you should consider carrying a few other smaller items that can be invaluable. For example, priority mailing envelopes (free at the post office) are great for storing things and they are durable and water proof. You may also want to keep a bottle or two to store things like coffee. Forget things like flashlights – they are heavy, the batteries run out, and they show everyone exactly where you are – and you probably want to remain fairly anonymous and blend in on the streets.

Other Survival Lists

If you enjoyed this list, you might also like our other survival lists:

Top 10 Prison Survival Tips
Top 7 Zombie Survival Tips
Top 5 Tips for Surviving a Bear Encounter
Top 15 Shipwreck Survival Tips

Listverse Staff

Listverse is a place for explorers. Together we seek out the most fascinating and rare gems of human knowledge. Three or more fact-packed lists daily.

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  • DiscHuker

    i agree with dangor. if someone is truly homeless, where are they going to get money to buy a nice sleeping bag, quality shoes and the like. granted, if you find yourself at this point purchasing might not be the method of acquiring your needed items. but assuming a morality that says that stealing is wrong is in place, where should the homeless person find these things cheap or find the money to buy them outright at normal prices?

    • david

      you offer a need to get paid for musical, divining, stand outside of home depot with a sign

      • Razor

        we make money with signs in every major city in the states we make it by.. ect. How do you think we eat.

  • This place is junk: synthetic fabrics do not breath – therefore you sweat and the moisture stays inside the bag. Down breaths keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer, additionally it is very lightweight and compacts well – synthetic fabrics do not. I mentioned the matting to keep your bag off the ground – obviously you are not going to sleep in the rain so moisture is only going to be a problem from the ground. Weapons are not a good idea on the street – they invariably get used against you – not to mention the fact that they can be illegal in some places and you don't want to end up in jail. Oh – and for the record – I do not get paid to write these lists. I donate my time to the site (and spend a LOT of money on servers – two dedicated rack mounted servers in fact) in order to provide these lists to you all for free.

    • Marie

      My father is homeless, I’m trying to help him without being an enabler. I really appreciate this list. Someone that has never been homeless may not think of these things. Thanks!

  • SocialButterfly

    Wow… this was really informative… can’t wait to see what the other ones have to say!

  • Csimmons

    Great list, though I’m not sure when I’m going to need it.

  • Nice list, though I don’t think many homeless people would have the means to get some of the more expensive things on here, the quality sleeping bag for example.

    I remember reading a kind of ‘guide’ a guy had written about living on the streets, but not necesseraly being ‘homeless’ as we think of them. He did stuff like get a PO box so he could open a bank account & stuff like that, as well as expansions of the other things on this list. It was a very interesting read, I cant remember what site it was on though.

  • I hope I don’t need this list in my lifetime! Still very interesting. :)

  • Daniel

    Great list… but aren’t you forgetting some type of protective case for the Iphone you’ll need to keep reading great lists on :p

  • HandyMandy

    It is sad neone has to be homeless. Thanks to you jfrater, this list may help someone out immensely in the future. Well Done;)

  • SlickWilly

    One more in favor of dangor and dischuker. This is a useful list, and I enjoyed it. Howabout a follow-up list on top 10 ways for someone on the streets to earn money, besides selling drugs or stealing?

  • SlickWilly: great idea – I will definitely include that in a future list.

    Daniel: already got it :)

    Dangor and DiscHuker: sometimes people have advanced warning that they are going to end up on the streets – also, you can make money on the streets – I will write another list for that :)

  • T

    I don’t know if I know any homeless that carry around a razor with them…

  • Eric

    Being homeless doesn’t necessarily mean being completely peniless. There should be some money you can get together for a few necessities like shoes. Those who lack these things tend to be the mentally ill who either don’t think of these things or don’t plan for them. Between food stamps, unemployment, petty theft, begging, dumpster diving, fishing change out of fountains, etc. you should be able to scrape together these items if you want to.

  • This place is junk

    This list was HORRIBLE. Are you kidding me? A down sleeping bag and you don’t even mention wetness as being a SERIOUS concern with down. What about a much cheaper synthetic solution. I could have made this list up in 2 minutes and this is what I think the author did. Can I write this crap and get paid too? I lived homeless for 6 months. Granted I was backpacking across the US. You don’t mention a darned thing like pop can alcohol stoves or cfc pads versus regular foam pads. Cheap stuff you can buy at Walmart that will help you. Wool vs cotton… the list could go on and on. Top 10 things to survive in the street and you don’t list any kind of weapon? What about a place to sleep?

  • TH3W1R3D

    Good list, I hope never to need it :p

  • HandyMandy

    WoooHoo, go jfrater! It sounds to me like Jamie did his homework, and came out with another great list.And thank you for donating your time to entertain us.

  • TH3W1R3D: If the markets keep on like they are at the moment, there may be a lot more people needing this list very soon!

    HandyMandy: Thanks :) It is always very nice when people voice their appreciation :)

  • SlickWilly


    You are the man. Don’t let anyone tell you any differently. I certainly don’t have the knowledge, time, or resources to run a site like this, so I’m glad someone out there is taking time out of his day to dispense entertaining and, for the most part, useful information to the masses.

    Keep on keepin on. Listverse is the shiznitobam-slipbamsam.

  • SlickWilly: thanks :) I don’t plan on stopping any time soon!

  • jwbm2525

    Excellent list! I would also like to mention a water bottle with a cap, maybe even an empty soda bottle, you can fill up on water at a public bathroom or outside public spicket.

  • jwbm2525: great addition to the list – thanks :)

  • Patrask

    A friend and I actually spent 2 weeks on the streets in ’06 (researching for a schoolproject) and it’s a lot rougher than one thinks. Canopeners are a godsend under those conditions!

    Definitely a good list. Looking forward to the rest!

  • JLo

    There was a creative writing professor in my grad school that encouraged his students to spend one night homeless.

    I sometimes think it would be a good idea to see what it is like and to empathize more with the plight of the homeless. A Christian guy, Mike Yankowski, lived homeless for quite some time and wrote about it in his book Under the Overpass.

    I might add a shopping cart or some wheeled device (even a bike). There is a guy who rides his bike from dumpster to dumpster collecting aluminum cans.

    My small group recently helped at a local breadline, and I was amazed at how much the people there were like one big family. And not some happy happy joy joy family, just like any other family – tenderness, anger, happiness, sadness, the whole ball of wax. It’s definitely a culture I know very little about.

    This is a good list. Also, thanks for creating a respectful atmosphere here to people of different faith backgrounds. I appreciate that the comments don’t dwindle into flame wars.

  • Mystern

    Cool list! How about a top 10 tips for surviving out of your car? I had to do that once for a few months.

  • S. D. Schaffer

    “I don’t know if I know any homeless that carry around a razor with them…”

    Wanna bet? Maybe not for grooming but certainly for protection.

  • mariecardona

    dangerironhide: The book you were referring to is called Steal This Book by Abbie Hoffman, a 60s counterculture revolutionary. It is basically an instruction manual for living as a hippie and social activist; thus, in addition to basic street survival, he also talks about how to grow weed and what to bring to demonstrations (helmets, gas masks).

  • With the way the economy is going, looks like I’ll be needing this list sooner than later.

  • Jeremy

    These random lists are by far the best ones on the site

  • NoPunyNerd

    For an insider’s view of living on the street, get a copy of Travels With Lizbeth, by Lars Eighner. Due to circumstances, he ended up on the road and on the street for three years. Lizbeth is the dog that accompanied him. One of my favorite books – ever.


  • downhighway61

    i love this list, it’s awesome. maybe instead of thinking of it as a guide, and then saying homeless people will never see, maybe people could think of it as what might be good to donate to homeless people. i’ve been attempting to put together “homeless care packages” with things like gloves, sweatshirts, cans and can openers, bottled water(stuff like that) to give to the homeless people in las vegas (there are a lot of them).

  • Angelina

    This list is great for all of the hobos with internet access, right?? J/K! :)

    Very informative, well-researched list. Nice, J!

  • petey mcgee

    what about limited gag reflex? seriously though, too many of us look too far down on the homeless. true story though… my uncle was working on a phone pole (electrician) and struck up a conversation with a homeless guy panhandling there under him. eventually the conversation turned to money and the beggar said that he made anywhere from $200 to $500 a day. A DAY!

  • NoPunyNerd

    Oh, for a slightly different perspective, there’s “Rolling Nowhere: Riding the Rails with America’s Hoboes,” by Ted Conover. Unlike Eighner, who lived on the streets due to circumstances and later decided to write about, Conover, a professional writer, chose to ride the rails in order to write a book. Another interesting read, though my favorite Conover book is “Coyotes,” where he spent a year traveling with Mexicans, crossing the US-Mexico border, living in migrant worker camps in the US and documenting their lives. An amazing piece of journalism.


  • Nelia

    A friend of mine worked at a church taking care of donated items and handing out clothing and food to the homeless. One day when she was working, she had to hide when she heard a familiar voice and realized it was an old classmate of ours. She didn’t want to embarrass the girl, but she was there with her family and they were clearly homeless. They were all filthy, wearing clothing full of holes, and carrying old backpacks to put the clothing into. She went to our school on scholarship, but unfortunately failed out. Guess that explains why. So sad. Homelessness can seem so far away, and the sole domain of of the older mentally ill or drug addicted population. Knowing a girl we knew was living on the streets even though she had both parents and some siblings… Changed our perspective.

  • FifthSonata

    Coming across these items may be a challenge, like many commentors have already pointed out.

    However, many cities and towns have “free” stores. I doubt a homeless person will care about staying in one city or the next. What’s a “free” store? I’m glad you asked! Free shirts are not-for-profit small businesses that accept donations of all kinds–often the rejects from the salvation army or goodwill–and basically gives it all away for anyone who comes in. The local store in my area asks all visitors to make a $1 donation at the door if possible–and, on top of that, the owner saves ALL sleeping bags they get and donate them to homeless people in the winter.

    This could be a rural thing, but a public school nearby set up a program for needy families where a child (no younger than 14) or adult family member can work 3 hours per week in exchange for clothing and whatever other goods are in the store.

    But, I do hope no one needs this list!

  • Good list, and I agree that it could be viewed as a “what to donate” list. Hope it doesn’t encourage any runaways though, haha. I would think it might discourage with all the survival knowledge that you’d clearly need which was very well pointed out here.

  • islanderbst

    i think this list is a too general
    list could almost be titled
    “what to bring to college” or “to go camping” or “driving cross country to kill your romantic rival”

  • Angelina

    Islanderbst: then he should add adult diapers to the list?? :)

  • goof_ball

    um… yeah… this list is a little obvious, no offense to the author

  • I think this list is good, but more relevant to the USA rather than England.

    I read your comments regarding down v synthetic, I personally have to side with synthetic – but at the end of the day its going to be what ever you get…

    One huge tip is obviously layering clothing – but also stuffing with cardboard – its a trick they use over here…

    Over here we have homeless shelters, and vans that come out with blankets, tea, coffee, medical supplies – clean needles that is and condoms…

    Other than that its a tough life –

  • poop

    believe it or not, homeless people make more money begging than you think in one whole day, in a crowded area, you can make over 50$

  • poop

    even over 100$

  • Diogenes

    you know poop? I was tryin to say somethin a while ago and yet for some reason comments didnt go through, but I have a feeling they are repeat add-infintum elsewhere (pehaps in a celestial bubble..ha.

    oh wait, what I said was,

  • 20Fan20

    how about an internet connection at the public lib. to read this list!

    Anyway, on a side note, are some readers getting extra grumpy latey?!?! Hey, I have been to plenty of sites I don’t like yet, I have never commented on them, I just moved on to new ones!

    Keep the lists coming! I love the variety!!!!

  • Shadow

    I have to say, from my experiences being homeless, that this list is AWESOME!! Thank you for doing this one, it may help some poor folks someday who get bitten especially hard in this mortgage crisis.

  • Shadow

    Also, some points to remember; many areas have laws against panhandling. You need to be aware of this in the event that you want to keep from getting arrested, or are in need of a night in jail to get warm, get better food, or medical care.

    Many places, like the YMCA, and truck stops, charge for showers. As long as you’re going to pay to take a shower, pay for a hotel room, especially in bad weather. It’ll get you out of said weather, and give the benefit of a shower and a good bed for a night to boot. In fact, if you go to certain hotels that are usually frequented by prostitutes with their johns, they sometimes rent their rooms by the hour. Illegal? For them, yes.You’re not breaking the law by taking a shower in the room though.

    As for the can opener, spring for a good one, don’t get a cheap one, they break too easily, and don’t use a knife. A knife can slip way too easily and slice you right open. On the streets this can be a death sentence.

    Accept the kindness of strangers, and do it graciously and gratefully, and thank them. Sure, it may just be a church group working in a soup kitchen, or it may be a person who was homeless at one point too. Either way, they never hear “thank you” as many times as they should. Often times all they hear is a bunch of whiny little babies who believe that they’re entitled to any handout they get and then a lot more. That’s a sore point for me too. I can’t tell you how many times I stood in a line at a soup kitchen listening to some ungrateful S.O.B.s complain and deride the staff until I blew up at them all and told them to shut or else. (Fortunately I’m a lot bigger than just about everyone, so I can get away with it.)

    Another point, some businesses will pay you a small amount of money to do menial jobs for them, especially at Christmas-time. I remember a restaurant I worked at; the manager would give this homeless guy five bucks twice a week to break down the boxes and place them in the cardboard container, plus he could keep all of the aluminum cans he could get out of the garbage. She also never called the cops on him when he’d get caught sleeping behind the dumpster. The fifteen bucks or so bought him coffee, which allowed him to stay in the twenty-four hour joint overnight most nights.

    Finally, if you have a drug or alcohol habit, drop it. People are less likely to give you anything if you have a habit.

  • Diogenes

    is this modern hoboism that were talking about or adivise to homeless or exteme sport, or life tactics, or educated guess, or taken from a pamplet or passed out on the street as a pamplet or simple practical advise without all the comments, or are you offering free classes in “scrap architecture”?, or “dumpster diving 101”,
    or just bring back vaudville?
    because the boll weevil has been eradicated.

  • Diogenes

    or so one would think

  • FifthSonata

    There were two students who attended a local state university in my area who pretended to be homeless and beg for money at major highway intersections to help pay tuition. I’m not sure if they do it anymore.

    I also read an article about a man who paid tuition through begging–he asked every person in Chicago to donate him a penny. He paid every cent of his tuition and then some with the donations!

    Maybe a future list could be “creative ways a homeless person (or very poor) could obtain money”…?
    Being a poor college student myself I’d love to see new ideas and I am not above dancing in a tutu for strangers…seriously…the middle class gets screwed when it comes to federal aid.

  • Thanks for all the great comments guys! I am glad that the list is appreciated by the majority :)

    20Fan20: I think the grumpiness of some commenters is due to my absence at Christmas – I haven’t been able to communicate with all of the new readers directly and so they are lacking our community feel. Hopefully this will change! Despite that I still think we have one of the nicest communities on the net!

  • DiscHuker

    i chuckle when i see the word hobo. is this the most modern term we have. this word conjures the image of a guy with an old fedora shuffling along with a red bag tied to a stick slung over his shoulder waiting to hitch a ride on the next boxcar.

    what is the current politically correct term? or perhaps more entertainingly, what do you think SHOULD be the current term?

    • Steve

      This world already has to damned many politically correct terms, we sure as heck don’t need to come up with another one.

  • jrjb

    I was going to get in on the panhandling aspect but others have made the points I was going to make.

    Reminds of a movie called Life Stinks with Mel Brooks whois a billionaire making a bet with another rich guy he can survive on the streets. Very Funny movie.

  • Brian Moo

    I’ll remember this for when I become a Hobo someday.

  • iain

    it wold also be worth carrying…a big bottle of vodka, some cig papers, dont forget the bogroll!!

  • I generally use the term “bum” though I think that probably has negative connotations for many people.

  • Iceman


    As for synthetics not breathing I disagree. I have backpacked for over 30 years and synthetic bags are significantly more breathable than they ever used to be. A good quality polarguard 3d bag will be about half the cost of a similar down bag. The Polarguard 3D is hydrophobic and is very breathable. Some synthetic fabrics do not breath very well but any ‘good quality’ synthetic bag will breath.

  • downhighway61

    are you in las vegas? my husband is convinced that the homeless people he passes on his way to work are actually people collecting money on behalf of the homeless.

  • albert0

    That’s because they are trying to grt money for themselves of course!

  • Sidereus

    Well thought out list, though it’s not much different from what you would take camping. If you layer all your clothes inside a down sleeping bag, you’re going to sweat and get chills making your clothes all damp and worse for keeping warm. Bags, matting, and sturdy shoes are all must haves. A lightweight flashlight wouldn’t be bad to have either.

  • Bananas

    worst list ever. backback. USEFULL ITEMS?????? weel dud u need useful stuff! Try to spend more time on exiting lists instead of this junk.

  • sarah

    wow i guess the matting is pretty important

  • Drogo

    I figured that if I ever became homeless, I would find a police car, climb up on its hood (bonnet), Pee on the windshield, act cRazY, and I’ll get sent to the nice warm lOonEyBin.

  • Drogo: you better watch out – you might end up with a frontal lobotomy or electroconvulsive treatment!

  • mariecardona (#25): no it wasnt that I was thinking of, it was just on a website, and the guy was mostly living out of his car.

  • Oh, and fifthsonata (#48): “Maybe a future list could be “creative ways a homeless person (or very poor) could obtain money”…?” I think that’s an excellent idea for a list.

  • rhyno

    Bananas: Perhaps some sort of list on how to spell properly would be of more use to you?

  • Rick B

    a GUN?

  • Bananas

    Ryno ; O dear, I am sorry if my spelling has offended you.

  • Stephan

    WTF at no weapons. I’d definately carry a knife or something.

  • Am I the only one who wonders why and how people allow their lives to come to this?
    Wouldn't any of you rather die than stoop down to that level?????
    I sure would.

    • Steve

      I’m sure a lot of people would agree with you.

  • Hey Mickilyne, it doesn’t always happen that way! I ended up homeless because my moms boyfriend didn’t like me. I was 17 at the time.

    hey Jfray, What about a tarp and a knife, not for protection, just for anything else you may need. a tarp is a good cover from rain, and if you can pull it a small pup tent. if you can find an area to set up, away from the streets, a small wooded area, then you’re in less danger than being on a side walk, or in town… I guess this would work better if you were traveling and stationary.

  • mickilyne

    Stardust: Sorry, honey.
    Being homeless as a youth is a bit different, in my opinion, and I sympathize with you.
    I was referring to the older ones.

  • dtownlady1

    hey everyone im only 15 and i had to do this assighnment for class and sorry but i disagree with the list i believe some of this stuff is unnecessary because the things listed above are the things i have in my house and im not homeless but if you know any homeless person with those things its because they lucked and found it not because they bought it. in my opinion if u see a homeless person with those things they planed to be homless i know it dnt make any sense but just think about it come on now there is not one homeless person who has what they need to be homeless

  • Panic!

    Wow… Run. On. Sentences.

  • Lois Lane

    I ma a 48 Year old woman. I think I may be homeless soon. I had a couple of bad back surgeries. I can’t work anymore. It isn’t that I haven’t tried. I live in a scummy housing project now and I just can’t take it anymore. I think if I move to another state, I may get some better medical care. Unfortuantely this will mean homelessness. I am at my wits end! I even had a social owrker tell me that I am pretty attractive, I could just ,ove in with a guy. I really don’t wann go that route.

    I also have chronic pain, which makes itdifficult for that kind of stuff. I am picturing camping near a beach somewhere and using the showers there. I have been camping before so I know how to rough it. I was on a waiting list ofr years for section 8 housing, they lost me. I have very little to live for and if I stay where I ma I will surely just get sicker, and depressed. I don’t drink, dont haev a substance problem, and I am only depressed because of chronic pain. I have not recovered from my last surgery and it doesn’t look like I am going to. I just want a change of scenery before I am too cripled to do anything at all. I know I have a roof over my head here but it is barely tolerable. My neighbors are eldrly and dying off or disabled and barely existing. I am a non entity already.
    I am trying to look at it as an adventure, I plan on making myself ugly and growing dreslocks, if any one tries to rape me I will defecate on myself. I have lost any dignity I had when I got sick. I should have recovered but the Doctors didn’t beleive me for years, once I had the surgeries it was too late. I am sure there ar elots of people in my situation, I just don’t want to die here in this crappy place.

    Thanks for the advice.

  • This list reminds me of reading Matthew Flinder’s Cat, a Bryce Courtenay story about an alcoholic ex-judge living on the streets of Sydney. It was a good book :-)

    Also, there is (/was, she doesn’t update it often since she got her book deal) a blog by a homeless woman living in her car in England somewhere. It was interesting reading, not completely believable IMO, but nice writing:

  • wolfy

    i thought it was a good list, but i think you would DEFINETLY need some kind of weapon! a knife at the very least! i wouldve made that number 1, people are scary! or maybe a pet dog or t-rex…maybe im being silly now.

  • matthew

    long live the street people ,they are funny and provide good acid

  • daisy

    great list. i needed that!:) :)

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  • 24fan

    Thanks for this list. I have been trying to provide a few things for a homeless person I met recently. This list is helpful for me to put together a sort of “care backpack” or “care bag.” Thanks jfrater. I got some great ideas.

  • meh

    useful items and miscellaneous extras.. absolutely great

  • PTC

    u forgot allout buddy..

  • omosapien

    i might just try it, maybe just for a week to see how it feels like :D

  • Didier

    Some years ago, I’ve been sleeping in the ‘streets’ a lot. I couldn’t write a better list. Just that whenever possible try to sleep outside the city: Quieter, less depressing and safer. To much clothes might not be too wise either but a great list; it remembered me… well, another life..

  • Timothy

    There are many things that people on the streets will need to survive. To say that it is arduous is only the tip of an ice berg that could well lead to your death.
    Living on the street is not like camping. You must be consistently on the move, and ready to get up and leave when you are asked to do so. If you are on the street, is is usually because circumstances beyond your control have forced you into that position in life.
    Homeless people are not respected by and large. In fact, a homeless person is one of the most dangerous people you will ever encounter in your life because you never know what they will or will not do. The number one thing that they need and often deserve, even if you do not know them, is respect. Respect their position in life and accept that something put them there. If you have anything that you can give, do so. Some people will argue that this only encourages them. The truth is that it will encourage a few of them to remain where they are, but there are those out there who, by giving half a bottle of water that you weren’t going to drink anyhow, will save their life.
    Homeless people have needs like everyone else in this world. Their needs are usually very basic and to give of your time just to talk to one sometimes can really help. If they do not want to talk to you, back away. Otherwise, listen to what they have to say even if it makes absolutely no sense to you. It doesn’t have to. They are talking because they are alone and loneliness will kill you. On the street, life is far harder than you could ever possibly imagine if you have never been there.
    To survive, they need things. Small things. Water, soap, shaving gear, pencils, paper, if you have a good book give it to them. It will help to alleviate the burdens they carry mentally every day.
    The list above is good, but it does not cover the whole issue of how they will get money. Money is the key ingredient that everyone wants, but many will abuse it. If you really want to help a homeless person, give them a JOB if you can do so. Do NOT discriminate against them because everyone else is already doing so.
    Simple things that most of us can do:
    1) Pay them 5 to 10 bucks to wash your car, or at least your windshield and give them Windex, armor-all, and a cloth. Many of them will do extremely good work but not all. Hand them what they need to get the work done and KEEP AN EYE ON THEM WHILE THEY WORK.
    2) Instead of giving them money directly, go out and purchase Subway gift cards, and the like. Think about this, Subway and many of the sandwich places are selling foot long subs for five bucks! Give a homeless person a gift card for 20 bucks and you may well give them food for three to four days! A lot of homeless eat very little and their stomachs are no longer as strong as they used to be. Sandwiches, especially from healthy places like subway, provide a great deal of nutrition that they desperately need.
    3) Do not give a homeless person greasy food! You know what that does to you and what ends up in the toilet? Try eating that and not HAVING the OPPORTUNITY to USE a restroom!
    4) One of the greatest problems that the homeless have right now, is the need to bathe and a place to do that at. Most locations will FORCE them from the property, especially if they are bathing because of health risks. You want to help? Offer them some soap (be careful because they can be allergic to what you give them) and a couple gallons of water.

    There are other things that can be done, and things that people should know about.
    I know these things because I have worked in security for over fifteen years. In addition to that, a member of my family is homeless and his situation is horrid and no one can, or will help because of his predicament.


  • this list is awesome, it made me cry because i used to be homeless but then i got my s*** together and now i am about o graduate law school! thanks jfrater for the wonderful memories!

  • Kimberly

    This list is irrelevant; the people who would likely become homeless is too poor to buy this crap or else they wouldn’t be homeless. Too busy with mental illness, abuse, and fear to read the internet…

  • bearglove

    Most homeless people make around $40,000 a year from panhandling and selling things they find from rummaging through dumpsters and stuff left on the side of streets with "free" signs on them. I knew of a homeless lady in my city(toledo, oh) growing up who made more than my dad($55-$68k over the course of my childhood)(she wasn't homeless for long-but she kept up the act and the income).

    • Steve

      one lady who made more than your dads turns into most homeless people make around $40,000 a year. That’s kind of a bit of a stretch don’t you think.

  • Bobnoxious

    And lets not forget the green cross code!

  • Andrei

    If you have all these things you’re not really poor.

  • eric cantona

    a GUN. who is going to fuck with a homeless dude who is well armed? might not be too wise to encourage the homeless to pack heat. still, if it was me i’d fuckin tool up. pronto

  • Envy

    Gotta say, looking decent sometimes works against you. =P I was near-homeless in London this summer (I was squatting, but didn’t have a job, was needing to steal my food, had a decent relationship with a hostel manager who’d let me use their showers when I needed etc. etc.). I have a mohawk so you can put it up and make money from tourists that way.

    Some guy was harassing me, so I mentioned to him that I was practically homeless and needed whatever money people could spare for my photo, and he yelled back “You look awfully healthy to be homeless.”

    Yes, because all homeless people have to be dirty, starving, and addicted to drugs.

  • Luke91

    Thanks for writing this list. I lost my job a couple months ago and have been unable to find another one, and now I’m getting evicted from my appartment. I’ve been able to sell my blood plasma at the closest plasma center and hav saved enough money to survive at least a couple weeks unless I’m murdered or something, I’m just lucky I don’t have any dependants. Thank you so much for this list, you don’t know how much it has helped me already.

  • kieran

    as helpful as this list is, im guessing that if i was homeless then i probably would’nt be able to actually read this perhaps?… just a thought

  • nicoleredz3


  • Kc

    I have an invisible disability that has me so sick that I barely leave my bed. I’m 25 and have been trying to get on Disability for close to 3 years. My family doesnt believe me and the homeless shelters are full so I don’t know what to do. I cant walk around, the best I can do is sit somewhere and I think that will end up being really dangerous.
    Thanks for the list, I hope it ends up helping me. But then again I have no job and no money and I pawned everything I had to help some of my family buy food. The same family who is kicking me out.
    No one deserves to be homeless, I’m sorry that some of you have had to go through it. I hope things work out for any of you that are facing the same situation.
    Good luck

  • bh1911a1

    Knife, pistol, and flashlight… in a pinch, all other items can be procured with those three things :)

  • I wish Hobos have an access to the Net,They will Need this(sigh)

  • Looser1

    Well due to the terrorists in our White House I lost everything. I am done. Tried to commit suicide 7 times and failed every time. I just don’t have enough guts to do it right I guess, I am a total failure. So it’s off the streets and hopefully someone will kill me and that will be that. I am all done. Life is terrible!!

  • Jose

    Ya my fam does not care about me so i guess i’ll go live on my own. :(

  • eattits

    wow this is decent im planin on livin the streets for a year so thanx alot

  • Parad0xfool

    Great list, very interesting!

  • randym

    ok iv ben homles and the ferst thing i ever get is a tarp and trash bags it realey helps take care of your stuf geting derty plus you geting wet then find the nerest church and tell them whats going on thay will normaley help you with the expensive stuf and strat away look fore work it will work out go to farmers houses hitch hiking throu explane that you need work and wi above all stay honest if you tell somone you need food use it for that



  • amanda gridley

    it breaks my heart to know people dont have the things most poeple take for granted . i will do what i can to make sure i get some stuff to give out .

  • The hell? If you have all these you probably won’t be homeless, thus eliminating the need to live on the streets.

  • Tschimboratzo Kopalka

    Bullshit! This is just shit like your stupid opinion, man!

    It seems you have never lived free.

    It’s a real junk.

    • Razor

      I agree completely. You appreciate life and things so much more on the streets and people are really dumb to think they can judge when they have no idea where we are coming from. Especially if you have a dog or look too good. They think poor animal its not eating, what a shame blah blah blah. we never run out of dog food on the street and just because i may look nice dont mean i smell good :).. my dog and i keep eachother alive. we live to protect and have fun on our journey. keeping his mind occupied and content is all i need to be happy. I used to model and bartend, but what kindof life is that. Stuck, making lots of money that don’t matter, buying fancy things. Fuck that, people shouldn’t feel bad and bless us, pretty offending for we choose the way we live and to be quite honest to be able to do what we do takes a lot of strength and courage. Its like if your house burns down and you are left with nothing. You adapt and use what you can to survive. no need for that material bullshit keeping you grounded, get the fuck over it and live. Open your eyes and give hope to those who cant. but if you let your house burn down and all your going to do is cry about it and let it kill you, you are weak. its a shame the hold all that material shit has on you.

  • Razor

    flashlights are a must esp when you gotta squat somewhere and be very quiet… they have the ones you can shake, a knife for protection and for various other things is very will have a lot of time to learn how to use it, and with speed. there are small flat can openers as well so dont end up lugging a full one around.
    a notebook, small and zip bags to keep items safe and out of the weather.

    Don’t take anything that has value with you. from experience i know how that goes.

    and us girls wanna feel pretty, so only essential makeup which doesnt include powder foundation ect. One nailpolish color does great. It gets tough having to wait days to months to be able to washup a little, even in a public bathroom.

    any advice let me know

  • tim

    what about food dork

    • Razor

      It’s not easy but I enjoy that lifestyle. We live as a pack and share everything with one another, some people live by certain pack rules, some don’t. There are all types of street people out there and it’s worth the experience. I am more the frreee hippie type so i couldn’t take the aggression and fear my ex pack brought, just have to feel your way around and find your comfort.

    • Razor

      I have food stamps, being homless they are very easy to get on as well as peoples handing over leftovers which are sooo daymn good in the big city. food is never a problem, we have been given a garbage bag of various donuts that were still good to fancy leftovers on the street. It all comes with a positive outlook.

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